Washington D.C. [USA], Apr. 1 : Turns out, risky alcohol consumption can increase at the time of retirement. Of retiring employees, 12 percent increased their risky drinking at the time of retirement. However, for most people, there was no change in risky level alcohol consumption around the time of retirement: 81 percent sustained healthy drinking during the follow-up, and in 7 percent of the participants risky drinking was constant, although they experienced a slow decline in risky level alcohol consumption after retirement.
In the University of Turku study, the levels for risky drinking were 24 units per week for men and 16 units for women, or passing out due to extreme alcohol consumption.
Increase in risky drinking was more common in smokers, men and those who reported depression, said senior researcher Jaana Halonen.
These are known risk factors for substantial alcohol use. Retirement is a major transition in life and in the light of these results, it also involves a risk of adopting an unhealthy lifestyle.
As baby boomers retire, approximately 70,000 Finns retire each year, so it is a significant social phenomenon.
The increase in free time and the changes in the social networks related to retirement can have either adverse or positive effects on public health, said researcher Sari Stenholm.
Occupational health care and employers could develop operational strategies that could prepare employees for retirement and the changes it can cause.
This way, unhealthy changes in lifestyle could be prevented, suggested Halonen. The study followed 5,800 employees who participated in the Finnish Public Sector (FPS) study and had retired due to old-age between 2000 and 2011.
Each participant answered questions on alcohol consumption before and after retirement. The study appears in the journal Addiction..